Inigo Dentistry Blog

Jan 26

Digital Everything & Digital Dentistry

Finally summer is here and I hope everyone is having a great time.

One thing that amazes me is how everything is now digital. Music, movies, pictures, and even books! I am thinking in a few years, people won’t remember paper books anymore.

Even dentistry is going digital. It is not new that many dental offices now have digital x-rays. It is also very common that many dentists work with digital charts. But do you know that now we can make a digital crown?

Last week, I discussed the need for crown restorations for structurally weak teeth. However, I did not mention that a conventional crown procedure is not the easiest job. For those who remembered getting a crown, it is a bit of an ordeal. First a dentist has to prepare a tooth for the porcelain. Then, the dentist takes a rubber impression or two to capture the details of the prepared tooth. Then the patient receives a temporary crown glued with temporary cement. After that, the dentist and the patient have to wait often 2 weeks for the crown to be fabricated by a lab technician. Then the dentist glues the crown to the prepared tooth.

It is a very important procedure but do you know that now many crowns can be designed and fabricated digitally within an hour after the preparation rather than 2 weeks? The technology is called Cerec. Let me explain how this works for patients and dentists.

Rather than taking impression, the digital video camera is used to capture the image. Then the dentist can load the image to a computer and design the crown exactly how he or she wants. Then the file goes to a milling unit (I called it a robotic lab tech) and then the crown is fabricated often within 30 minutes. Sounds too far-fetched? Well, as you can imagine, most patients who see the Cerec crown procedures for the first time, are blown away by the technology.

Sometimes it is scary how much more technology will be available for dentistry. Well, actually it is very exciting.